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Jerry's Favorite Poems


Master Alchemist

by Rumi


You come to us from another world
From beyond the stars and a void of space
Transcendent, pure – of unimaginable beauty.
Bringing with You the essence of Love.
You transform all who are touched by You –
Mundane concerns, troubles and sorrows dissolve in Your presence
Bringing joy to ruler & ruled, to peasants and kings.
You bewilder us with Your grace;
All evil is transformed into goodness.
You are the Master Alchemist!
You light the fire of Love in earth & sky,
In heart & soul of every being.
Through Your loving, existence & non-existence merge –
All opposites unite –
All that is profane becomes sacred again.




by Berton Bailey


I dedicate this to you,

To the greatness in you,

And to the dream that

You showed up on the planet to produce.

And it is simply this:


If you want a thing bad enough,

Go out and fight for it!

Work, day and night, for it!

Give up your time and your peace and your sleep for it!


If all that you dream and you scheme is about it

And life seems useless and worthless without it


If you’d gladly sweat for it, fret for it, and plan for it

And lose all your terror of self and opposition for it,


If you’ll simply go after that thing that you want,

With all of your capacity, strength and sagacity,

Faith, hope, and confidence, and stern pertinacity,


If neither cold poverty, famished and gaunt,

Nor sickness nor pain, of body and brain

Can keep you away from the thing that you want,


If dogged and grim you besiege and beset it,

With the help of God, you’ll get it.




by Unknown


Your success depends on you.

Your happiness depends on you.

You steer your own course.

You shape your own fortune.

You yourself, do your own thinking.

You live with your own conscience.

Your mind is yours and can be used only by you.

You come into this world alone; you go to the grave alone.

You are alone with your inner thoughts during the journey between.

You make your own decisions.

You abide by the consequences of your actions.

You regulate your habits; you make and unmake your health.

You assimilate things mental and things material.

You struggle through your own assimilation all throughout life.

You can be taught by a teacher, but you have to imbibe the knowledge.  Transfuse it into your brain.

You alone can control your brain cells.

You may have spread before you the wisdom of the ages, but unless you assimilate it you derive no benefit from it; no one can force it into your cranium.

You alone can move your own legs, arms, hands; you control your own muscles.

You stand on your own two feet, physically and metaphorically:

You take your own steps.

Your parents cannot enter into your skin, take control of your mental physical machinery, make something of you.

You cannot fight your daughter’s battles; that she must do for herself.

Be captain of your own destiny.

See through your own eyes.

Use your own ears.

Master your own faculties; solve your own problems.

Form your own ideals; create your own ideas.

Choose your own speech; govern your own tongue.

Your real life is your thoughts.

Your thoughts are your own making.

Your character is your own handiwork.

You alone can select the materials that go into it; you alone can reject what is not fit to save.

You are the creator of your own personality.

You can be disgraced by no woman’s heart, no man’s hand, but your own.

You can be elevated and sustained by no woman, no man, but yourself.

You write your own record.

You build your own monument—

or dig your own pit.

Which are you doing?




by Goethe


Should your glance on mornings lovely

Lift to drink the heaven’s blue

Or when sun, veiled by sirocco,

Royal red sinks out of view–

Give to Nature praise and honor.

Blithe of heart and sound of eye,

Knowing for the world of color

Where her broad foundations lie.



One and Only You

By James T Moore


Every single blade of grass,
And every flake of snow,
Is just a wee bit different.
There’s no two alike, you know.


From something small, like grains of sand,
To each gigantic star
All were made with THIS in mind:
To be just what they are!


How foolish then, to imitate;
How useless to pretend!
Since each of us comes from a MIND
Whose ideas never end.


There’ll only be just ONE of ME
To show what I can do.
And you should likewise feel very proud,
There’s only ONE of YOU.


That is where it all starts
With you, a wonderful
unlimited human being.



by Arthur William Beer


To get he had tried,

yet his store was still meager.

To a wise man he cried,

in a voice keen and eager:

Pray tell me how I may successfully live?

And the wise man replied,

"To get you must give."


As to giving he said,

"What have I to give?"

I've scarce enough bread,

and of course one must live;

But I would partake of Life's bountiful store.

Came the wise man's response;

"Then you must give more."


The lesson he learned;

to get was forgotten,

Toward mankind he turned

with a love new begotten.

As he gave of himself in useful living,

Then joy crowned his days,

for he grew rich in giving.



If All The Skies

by Henry Van Dyke


If all the skies were sunshine,  

Our faces would be fain

To feel once more upon them  

The cooling plash of rain.


If all the world were music,  

Our hearts would often long

For one sweet strain of silence 

To break the endless song.


If life were always merry,  

Our souls would seek relief,

And rest from weary laughter  

In the quiet arms of grief.



Thoughts Are Things

By Henry Van Dyke


I hold it true that thoughts are things; 
They're endowed with bodies and breath and wings;
And that we send them forth to fill
The world with good results, or ill.


That which we call our secret thought
Speeds forth to Earth's remotest spot,
Leaving its blessings or its woes
Like tracks behind it as it goes. 


We build our future thought by thought,
For good or ill, yet know it not. 
Yet, so the universe was wrought.

Thought is another name for fate;
Choose, then, thy destiny and wait,
For love brings love and hate brings hate.



Your Heart

By Collette O’Mahony


Your heart is a palace

But you live in your head.

You own a vast mansion

Yet you sleep in the shed.



A Pendulum

By Collette O’Mahony


I swing like a pendulum between
the darkness and the light,
sometimes it feels like gallows
other times it feels like flight.



An Ecstacy of Sound

By Collette O’Mahony


Perhaps if I kiss you with words
When you read them out loud
They shall vibrate on your lips
And my intention
Becomes your assertion
Uniting us in an ecstasy of sound.



I Am Woman

By Collette O’Mahony


I started
You finished
I ended
You began
I paused
You continued
I whispered
You sang
I thought
You knew
I lingered
You ran
I looked
You reflected
I am woman
You are man.




By Goethe


Eyes tell, tell me, what you tell me,
telling something all too sweet,
making music out of beauty,
with a question hidden deep.

Still I think I know your meaning,
there behind your pupils’ brightness,
love and truth are your heart’s lightness,
that, instead of its own gleaming,

would so truly like to greet,
in a world of dullness, blindness,
one true look of human kindness,
where two kindred spirits meet.



Love Song for Lucinda 

By Langston Hughes


Is a ripe plum
Growing on a purple tree.
Taste it once
And the spell of its enchantment
Will never let you be.

Is a bright star
Glowing in far Southern skies.
Look too hard
And its burning flame
Will always hurt your eyes.

Is a high mountain
Stark in a windy sky.
If you
Would never lose your breath
Do not climb too high.



Fear Not

By Unknown


When you saw only one set of footprints,

it was then that I carried you.



Still Here

By Langston Hughes


I been scarred and battered.

My hopes the wind done scattered.

   Snow has friz me,

   Sun has baked me,


Looks like between 'em they done

   Tried to make me


Stop laughin', stop lovin', stop livin'--

   But I don't care!

   I'm still here!




Lift Off

By Donovan Livington


“Education then, beyond all other devices of human origin,

Is a great equalizer of the conditions of men.” – Horace Mann, 1848.


At the time of his remarks I couldn’t read — couldn’t write.

Any attempt to do so, punishable by death.

For generations we have known of knowledge’s infinite power.

Yet somehow, we’ve never questioned the keeper of the keys —

The guardians of information.


Unfortunately, I’ve seen more dividing and conquering

In this order of operations — a heinous miscalculation of reality.

For some, the only difference between a classroom and a plantation is time.

How many times must we be made to feel like quotas —

Like tokens in coined phrases? —

“Diversity. Inclusion”

There are days I feel like one, like only —

A lonely blossom in a briar patch of broken promises.

But I’ve always been a thorn in the side of injustice.


Disruptive. Talkative. A distraction.

With a passion that transcends the confines of my consciousness —

Beyond your curriculum, beyond your standards.

I stand here, a manifestation of love and pain,

With veins pumping revolution.

I am the strange fruit that grew too ripe for the poplar tree.

I am a DREAM Act, Dream Deferred incarnate.

I am a movement – an amalgam of memories America would care to forget

My past, alone won’t allow me to sit still.

So my body, like the mind

Cannot be contained.


As educators, rather than raising your voices

Over the rustling of our chains,

Take them off. Un-cuff us.

Unencumbered by the lumbering weight

Of poverty and privilege,

Policy and ignorance.


I was in the 7th grade, when Ms. Parker told me,

“Donovan, we can put your excess energy to good use!”

And she introduced me to the sound of my own voice.

She gave me a stage. A platform.

She told me that our stories are ladders

That make it easier for us to touch the stars.

So climb and grab them.

Keep climbing. Grab them.

Spill your emotions in the big dipper and pour out your soul.

Light up the world with your luminous allure.


To educate requires Galileo-like patience.

Today, when I look my students in the eyes, all I see are constellations.

If you take the time to connect the dots,

You can plot the true shape of their genius —

Shining in their darkest hour.


I look each of my students in the eyes,

And see the same light that aligned Orion’s Belt

And the pyramids of Giza.

I see the same twinkle

That guided Harriet to freedom.

I see them. Beneath their masks and mischief,

Exists an authentic frustration;

An enslavement to your standardized assessments.


At the core, none of us were meant to be common.

We were born to be comets,

Darting across space and time —

Leaving our mark as we crash into everything.

A crater is a reminder that something amazing happened here —

An indelible impact that shook up the world.

Are we not astronomers — looking for the next shooting star?

I teach in hopes of turning content, into rocket ships —

Tribulations into telescopes,

So a child can see their potential from right where they stand.

An injustice is telling them they are stars

Without acknowledging night that surrounds them.

Injustice is telling them education is the key

While you continue to change the locks.


Education is no equalizer —

Rather, it is the sleep that precedes the American Dream.

So wake up — wake up! Lift your voices

Until you’ve patched every hole in a child’s broken sky.

Wake up every child so they know of their celestial potential.

I’ve been a Black hole in the classroom for far too long;

Absorbing everything, without allowing my light escape.

But those days are done. I belong among the stars.

And so do you. And so do they.

Together, we can inspire galaxies of greatness

For generations to come.

No, sky is not the limit. It is only the beginning.

Lift off.



Life is Fine

By Langston Hughes


I went down to the river,

I set down on the bank.

I tried to think but couldn't,

So I jumped in and sank.


I came up once and hollered!

I came up twice and cried!

If that water hadn't a-been so cold

I might've sunk and died.


     But it was      Cold in that water!      It was cold!


I took the elevator

Sixteen floors above the ground.

I thought about my baby

And thought I would jump down.


I stood there and I hollered!

I stood there and I cried!

If it hadn't a-been so high

I might've jumped and died.


     But it was      High up there!      It was high!


So since I'm still here livin',

I guess I will live on.

I could've died for love—

But for livin' I was born


Though you may hear me holler,

And you may see me cry—

I'll be dogged, sweet baby,

If you gonna see me die.


     Life is fine!      Fine as wine!      Life is fine!




What I Love

By Cristen Rodgers


I love letting my soul soar on a summer breeze, 

Or getting entranced by the rhythm of the seas. 

It carries you off on its currents until you’re completely lost, 

And then drops you back onto the shores of reality 

With salt on your cheeks and the grains of dreams 

Running through your fingers like sand...

In those first moments when you come back up for air, 
Or when you float back down to the ground, 
You’re living in the land of possibility, 
Where you understand that reality can stretch 

Just as far as you’re willing to dream.



Ever and Everywhere

By Goethe


Penetrate deep mountain caverns,

Follow clouds towards the heavens:

Muses call, to stream and valley,

Many a thousand times, oh, many.


As soon as fresh flowers meet the eye,

New songs our efforts earn:

And though fleeting time goes by,

The seasons they return.



A Wise Old Owl

by Unknown


A wise old owl who lived in an oak, 

the more he saw, the less he spoke, 

the less he spoke, the more he heard. 

Why aren’t we all like that wise old bird?

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